A Connecticut resident has died after being hospitalized with a vaping related lung injury, public health officials said Thursday.
The Department of Public Health said the patient was between 30-39 years old and died last week while being treated for multiple medical conditions believed linked to vaping.
The state is also investigating six new reports of lung injuries that may be linked to vaping, bringing the total number of Connecticut cases to 25. Five of those people are under the age of 18, DPH said.
“Sadly, one of our residents with vaping-related lung injury has died,” said DPH Commissioner Renée D. Coleman-Mitchell. “Our prayers go out to the family. We are working with the CDC along with health departments across the country to find out what the specific causes of these injuries are to educate the public by providing the information needed to mitigate the risk of illness and death.”
Public health officials continue to urge Connecticut residents not to use e-cigarettes or other vaping products while they investigate the cases.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Thursday 1080 vaping-related illnesses have been reported nationwide, and there have been 18 deaths in 15 states, not including the case from Connecticut. The CDC has said that products containing THC play a role in the outbreak.
Gov. Ned Lamong said his administration planned to speak with neighboring states to discuss potential action that can be taken to address the rising concerns surrounding vaping.
“As a growing wave of vaping-related illnesses is becoming more prevalent across the country, I was saddened to learn today that tragedy has struck here at home,” Lamont said in a statement. “I cannot stress enough that people should just avoid these products completely, and most especially avoid products that were purchased off the street or have been modified in any way. Very little is known in the medical community at this time about the long-term effects of vaping. Working with public health experts – and in collaboration with our neighboring states – we are in the process of developing a comprehensive, effective response to what is becoming a growing public health crisis. But I cannot stress enough – the best thing for people to do is just avoid e-cigarettes and vaping products altogether.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal called for federal action.
"The vaping epidemic has now hit home - tragically. This epidemic now exploding in force has turned deadly here. Everyday teens are starting lifetimes of addiction and disease, thinking vaping is harmless. As I have warned repeatedly over years, e-cigarettes deliver powerfully addictive nicotine, dangerous chemicals, and unknown poisons. The FDA must act before there are more deaths and more lives put in peril. It should ban flavors immediately, and take other necessary long overdue steps," Blumenthal said in a statement.
Symptoms of a vaping-related injury include shortness of breath, fever, cough, vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms may include headache, weight loss and chest pain.